(a) A lawyer shall seek the lawful objectives of his or her client through reasonably available means permitted by law and these rules. A lawyer does not violate this rule, however, by acceding to reasonable requests of opposing counsel which do not prejudice the rights of his or her client, by being punctual in fulfilling all professional commitments, by avoiding offensive tactics, or by treating with courtesy and consideration all persons involved in the legal process. A lawyer shall abide by a client's decision whether to accept an offer of settlement of a matter. In a criminal case, the lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer, as to a plea to be entered, whether to waive jury trial, and whether the client will testify.

(b) A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.

(c) A lawyer may limit the objectives of the representation if the client consents after consultation.

(d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning, or application of the law.

(e) When a lawyer knows that a client expects assistance not permitted by the rules of professional conduct or other law, the lawyer shall consult with the client regarding the relevant limitations on the lawyer's conduct.

Adopted June 9, 1997, effective January 1, 1998; Amended December 30,1997, effective March 1, 1998.

Comment:  

Scope of Representation

[1] A lawyer should seek to achieve the lawful objectives of a client through permissible means. This does not prevent a lawyer from observing such rules of professional courtesy as those listed in Rule 1.2(a). The specification of decisions subject to client control is illustrative, not exclusive. In general, the client's wishes govern the conduct of a matter, subject to the lawyer's professional obligations under these Rules and other law, the general norms of professional courtesy, specific understandings between the lawyer and the client, and the rules governing withdrawal by a lawyer in the event of conflict with the client. The lawyer and client should therefore consult with one another about the general objectives of the representation and the means of achieving them. As the Rule implies, there are circumstances, in litigation or otherwise, when lawyers are required to act on their own with regard to legal tactics or technical matters and they may and should do so, albeit within the framework of the objectives of the representation.

[2] In a case in which the client appears to be suffering mental disability, the lawyer's duty to abide by the client's decisions is to be guided by reference to Rule 1.14 .
Independence from Client's Views or Activities

[3] Legal representation should not be denied to people who are unable to afford legal services, or whose cause is controversial or the subject of popular disapproval. By the same token, representing a client does not constitute approval of the client's views or activities.

Services Limited in Objectives or Means

[4] The objectives or scope of services provided by a lawyer may be limited by agreement with the client or by the terms under which the lawyer's services are made available to the client. For example, a retainer may be for a specifically defined purpose. Representation provided through a legal aid agency may be subject to limitations on the types of cases the agency handles. When a lawyer has been retained by an insurer to represent an insured, the representation may be limited to matters related to the insurance coverage. The terms upon which representation is undertaken may exclude specific objectives or means. Such limitations may exclude objectives or means that the lawyer regards as repugnant or imprudent.

[5] An agreement concerning the scope of representation must accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct and other law. Thus, the client may not be asked to agree to representation so limited in scope as to violate Rule 1.1 , or to surrender the right to terminate the lawyer's services or the right to settle litigation that the lawyer might wish to continue.
Criminal, Fraudulent and Prohibited Transactions

[6] A lawyer is required to give an honest opinion about the actual consequences that appear likely to result from a client's conduct. The fact that a client uses advice in a course of action that is criminal or fraudulent does not, of itself, make a lawyer a party to the course of action. However, a lawyer may not knowingly assist a client in criminal or fraudulent conduct. There is a critical distinction between presenting an analysis of legal aspects of questionable conduct and recommending the means by which a crime or fraud might be committed with impunity.

[7] When the client's course of action has already begun and is continuing, the lawyer's responsibility is especially delicate. The lawyer is not permitted to reveal the client's wrongdoing, except where permitted by Rule 1.6 or required by Rule 3.3 , 4.1 , or 8.3 . However, the lawyer is required to avoid furthering the purpose, for example, by suggesting how it might be concealed. A lawyer may not continue assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer originally supposes is legally proper but then discovers is criminal or fraudulent. See the discussion of the meaning of "assisting" in Comment 3 to Rule 4.1 and the special meaning in Comment 2A to Rule 3.3 . Withdrawal from the representation, therefore, may be required. But see Rule 3.3(e) .

[8] Where the client is a fiduciary, the lawyer may be charged with special obligations in dealings with a beneficiary.

[9] Paragraph (d) applies whether or not the defrauded party is a party to the transaction. Hence, a lawyer should not participate in a sham transaction; for example, a transaction to effectuate criminal or fraudulent escape of tax liability. Paragraph (d) does not preclude undertaking a criminal defense incident to a general retainer for legal services to a lawful enterprise. The last clause of paragraph (d) recognizes that determining the validity or interpretation of a statute or regulation may require a course of action involving disobedience of the statute or regulation or of the interpretation placed upon it by governmental authorities.

Corresponding ABA Model Rule. Identical to Model Rule 1.2 , except the first two sentences of (a) replace the first sentence of the Model Rule.

Corresponding Former Massachusetts Rule. (a) and (b) no counterpart, except that the first sentence of (a) comes from DR 7-101 (A); (c) DR 7-101 (B) (1); (d) DR 7-102 (A) (6) and (7), DR 7-106, S.J.C. Rule 3:08, DF 7; (e) DR 2-110 (C) (1) (c), DR 9-101 (C).